'Meanings and uses of the term “reconciliation” in the Colombian Peace Dialogues: unveiling political actions through discourse analysis', by Angélica Aparicio

Angélica Aparicio is one of the ISS MA Research Paper Award winners for the academic year 2017-2018.

From the Evaluation Committee consisting of Albert Kraaij, HHS,  Farhad Mukhtarov, ISS and Katarzyna Grabska, ISS:

“Finally, the last RP prize goes to the work that made a lasting impression on all of us and enriched our understanding on what is going on in the country that is discussed. It was nominated by a convenor of the track with the following words: ”This is one of the best RPs I have seen in all the years working at ISS”, and the convener spent a long time at ISS! Rarely have we seen the depth of empirical analysis to be woven into the comprehensive and sharp conceptual discussion – a feat that indicates at a shiny academic talent of the student. … What a delicious treat it was to read this thesis!”

ISS Working paper No. 639
Abstract (by the author)

This research paper relates the multiple visions of reconciliation of three key actors—FARC-EP, Government and Civil Society—in the negotiations of the Peace Agreement in Colombia from 2012 to 2016 with a past of war that defines them and defines the other in the midst of their grievances and with specific aspirations for the peace that must build.

After questioning the seemingly neutral character of the notion of reconciliation, it is obtained that the term is not devoid of political sense. On the contrary, it may reflect the most concrete aspirations and visions about peace in a context of post-agreement as the Colombian one.

Following a post-structuralist approach, I applied some methods of discourse analysis to trace the discursive configurations that had a place in the four years of negotiation of the Peace Agreement.

Apart from the unveiling of these varieties of possible ways to reconcile and therefore the existence of multiple peace(s), the research takes discourses as relevant ways to trace political strategies and make visible the construction of meanings, which is full of implications in the peacebuilding scenario.


Colombia, reconciliation, discourse, peace, peace agreement, FARC-EP, national government, victims, conflict, discourse analysis, women, LGBTI, transitional justice.

Download the full text of this working paper (pdf)